The effects of football team performance on merchandise sales at Washington State University

Primary author: Melissa Dominy
Co-author(s): Raeleigh Earls
Faculty sponsor: Dr. Rhee

Primary college/unit: College of Education
Campus: Pullman


Merchandise sales are a crucial form of revenue and branding for sport teams. Major sport teams like Dallas Cowboys and New York Nicks rely on brand image for institutional recognition and revenue. In collegiate football, Washington State University possesses a strong football culture throughout the fanbase and community, encompassing thousands of spectators. Cougars fans come from near and far to support their football program, showcasing their dedication to the program and their individual fan identification through merchandise. Team identification, just as brand loyalty, produces an emotional connection with a sports team and results in a positive impact on the purchasing behavior of individuals. From the consumer’s perspective, purchasing and using team-licensed merchandise can strengthen the relationship between fans and the team, willing fans to showcase their support. Brand equity has been defined as a set of assets such as name awareness, loyal customers, perceived quality, and associations that are linked to brand; such as Washington State University Football. Brand awareness is the likelihood and ease that a brand name will be recognized The objective of this study was to contribute to existing research on consumer purchasing intentions, investigating the relationship of team success with consumer spending on merchandise. This study analyzes merchandise sales from the 2014-2015 WSU Cougars football season (losing season) and the 2015-2016 WSU Cougars football season (winning season). The analysis investigated the relationship between Coug Football performance and merchandise sales, exploring the relationship of team identification and perceived value.